Chandigarh, August 4: As the Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab incharge Sanjay Singh flanked by Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann and its women wing chief Baljinder Kaur released the first list of 19 candidates in the absence of state party chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur, a Punjabi TV channel ran the story within no time that he had resigned.
Chhotepur came on twitter with two tweets one after the other. He stated:
“News running about my Resignation on PTC Channel is a FAKE News...!!”
“Beware of Rumours,its a fake news..!!”
He did not explain his absence at the news conference in his tweets. It is his absence during the release of the very first list that has become enigmatic. Sanjay Singh could not be contacted.
What has added to the mystery is that Chhotepur is learnt to be around and he had “forgotten” his mobile at his residence. None picked up his phone in the evening. Despite the denials, the mystery continues to deepen.
Hours before the list was out, party activists had revolted at several places including in Mohali. H S Kingra, who has been party spokesman for months, resigned last evening protesting against candidature of Himmat Singh Shergill. Today’s list had the name of Shergill from Mohali. It is the allegations that Kingra levelled that are serious and amount to severe indictment of the party functioning. He alleged that he was told by party’s organisational secretary Durgesh Pathak to distance himself from Chhotepur. The change of guard in Punjab was being speculated upon for the last about three months. Going a step further, he attacked the non-Punjabi leadership from outside calling shots in Punjab as being anti-Sikh.
However, it seems that AAP prefers people who are non-ideological. Patiala MP Dr Dharam Vira Gandhi has been the product of the Left movement and he continues to work among the people. Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harvinder Singh Khalsa shot into limelight when he resigned from the coveted Indian Foreign Service in protest against the army attack on the Golden Temple complex code-named Operation Bluestar in June, 1984. He was posted in Norway at that time. His ideological position too is clear. He has been elected to Lok Sabha earlier also. However, both of them are under suspension for the last several months. Cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is aligned with the saffron ideology and this is an open secret. But then AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself had been in touch with leaders from the saffron brigade in the beginning of his political career.
AAP is the product of now forgotten anti-corruption “crusade” led by Anna Hazare. Anna Hazare himself had come under attack during that period on the issue of minorities and dalit besides the use of saffron brigade symbolism.
The AAP’s commitment to wiping out corruption has come under question with the release of the first list of candidates itself. AAP has not taken position on many of ideological issue confronting Bharat.
The party released brief profile of the candidates too. The educational qualification of Jagdeep Singh Brar, the 48 year old candidate from Muktsar is “Metric” while Gurdit Singh Sekhon from Faridkot of +1 pass and is national level basketball player. Brig Raj Kumar (retd) fielded from Balachaur is of course graduate while Rupinder Kaur, 28, from Bathinda has done LL M and is pursuing doctorate. Jasvir Singh Sekhon from Dhuri is 12 pass. Inderbir Singh Nijjer from Amritsar (South) is medical specialist.
The youngest of today’s lot is Samarbir Singh at 25 years of age with +2 pass educational qualification. Kultar Singh Sandhwan from Kotkapura is a social activist who runs Bhai Kanhaiya Cancer Roko Society.
Sanjay Singh did not reply to the SMS sent to him about the absence of Chhotepur during the release of the list of candidates till the filing of this story. The absence of state convener at such an important event raises many questions. The speculation about his future is logical, especially when Sanjay Singh refuses to clear that air and Chhotepur continuing to be incommunicado.
Today’s state of affairs of the party coincides with the Delhi High Court ruling on the division of powers between the Delhi government and the Lt Governor that might come as a big shock to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal doing meditation in Dharamsala.